Brian Vanderwende

Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences


Curriculum Vitae






Teaching Interests

In my experience, there are few things more rewarding than reaching students. It is our best opportunity as scientists to reach a broad audience, and inform the public about the cool things we can learn through scientific endeavor. Education is also a great way to build grassroots support for science in the policy sphere.

Therefore, it is critical that scientists also be good communicators and educators. Beginning in 2012, I spent a year as the Graduate Teacher Program Lead for the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. In that role, I was able to serve as an advisor to graduate TAs in our department and an administrative liason between ATOC and the GTP. I also had the opportunity to improve my own pedagogy, which I subsequently put into practice in my teaching.


I have a particular interest in using games to support education. Growing up, I was a big fan of simulation sandbox games, and they in return fostered my interest in science and computing (you could say SimEarth was my first modeling experience). In the future, I'd like to further explore this topic, and combine my interests in teaching, programming, and games to develop engaging and informative experiences for geoscience students.

Courses Taught

During my graduate school career, I've had the privilege of teaching multiple courses in our department. My experience includes:

Summer 2013 - Weather and the Atmosphere (ATOC 1050)
Introduces principles of modern meteorology for nonscience majors, with emphasis on scientific and human issues associated with severe weather events. Includes description, methods of prediction, and impacts of blizzards, hurricanes, thunderstorms, tornadoes, lightning, floods, and firestorms.
[Syllabus] - [Sample Activity] - [Sample HW]

Fall 2009/Spring 2010 - Weather and the Atmosphere Lab (ATOC 1070)
Laboratory experiments illustrate fundamentals of meteorology. Covers collection, analysis, and discussion of data related to local weather. Uses computers for retrieval and interpretation of weather data from Colorado and across the U.S.